Print this page

Miami Vice - complete on Blu-ray

Tuesday, 20 December 2016 00:00 Written by 

Miami Vice - The Complete Collection - out now on UK Blu-rayMiami Vice is a 1980s cop show featuring one of the most charismatic detective duos ever – James ‘Sonny’ Crocket and Ricardo Tubbs. Crockett (Don Johnson – “Django Unchained”, Nash Bridges) is an eagle-eyed Southerner with immaculately coiffured hair, linen suits and a sleek Ferrari. Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas – “Sparkle”, Lance Vance in “GTA: Vice City”) is a streetwise, medallion-wearing New Yorker driven to Miami by vengeance.

Created by Anthony Yerkovich (a writer on Hill Street Blues) and executively produced by Michael Mann (“Heat”, “Manhunter”), the show ran for five seasons and saw early guest performances from the likes of Bruce Willis, Michael Madsen, Viggo Mortensen, Laurence Fishburne and Wesley Snipes. Iconic for both cool and alarming 80s fashionwear, brilliant tunes and flashy vehicles, the show now gets a new lease of life in remastered high-def.

As the series’ name suggests, the focus is on cracking all manner of vice-related crimes including the dealing of drugs, guns and sex workers, with the cast regularly going deep under cover to get as close to their targets as possible. Inevitably, this routinely involves extreme jeopardy and many nail-bitingly tense moments, as they try to out-manoeuvre their prey before their real identities are uncovered.

Filmed in a cinematic style that feels well ahead of its time and that suggests a movie-scale budget, the show is a completely different beast to the grey, humdrum cop series we were used to at the time, especially in the UK. Everything is gleaming and bathed in beautiful Florida sunshine, and at night the neon glow of the city creates a dreamy sensation.

Jan Hammer’s brilliant, chart-smashing synth music contributes much to the series’ identity, from the unique, dynamic theme tune to the signature pieces for Crockett and Tubbs, and the by turns hyper and soothing backing soundtrack that either propels the car chases and shoot-outs, or encapsulates the more laid-back moments.

The flashy, aspirational vehicles are also a key factor in grabbing the audience’s attention. Crockett’s black Ferrari Daytona Spyder was eventually replaced by an equally stunning white Testarossa), and his glamorous yacht and roaring speed boat complete his high-living image. That he keeps a fiercely territorial alligator called Elvis in his boat is just the icing on the cake!

Mann went on to direct the aforementioned “Heat”, which in my opinion was a much better, widescreen homage to Miami Vice than his 2006 movie of the same name that starred Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx.

Crockett and Tubbs’ boss for most of the series is Lt Castillo, played with supreme soberness by Edward James Olmos (the 2004 Battlestar Galactica, “Blade Runner”). Castillo’s withering gaze could probably kill from 20 paces if you got on the wrong side of him, but do your job well and he has got your back no matter the cost.

The charming duo’s crime-fighting colleagues include Gina (Saundra Santiago - One Life to Live) and Trudy (Olivia Brown – “48 Hrs”), both very strong female characters who can turn on the charm to reel in unsuspecting low lifes. Switek (Michael Talbott – “First Blood”) and Zito (John Diehl – “Jurassic Park III”) are altogether more goofy and provide ample light relief to add contrast to what is often a dark and sometimes bleak programme.

A police drama series like this relies as much on its baddies as its goodies, and there are no problems on that front, either. Some are upper-crust untouchables with expensive lawyers, others greasy urchins or cold-blooded hitmen; the Vice team have their hands full and do not come out on top in every case. Plus, sometimes even if they get their man (or woman), the collateral damage can be devastating.

The general quality of the show is remarkable; yes, there are the occasionally dud episodes where the story or characterisation does not quite hold together, but for the most part Miami Vice is a gripping, atmospheric and gratifying. Whilst fashion has moved on, today’s demanding audiences will surely find much to love in this sparkling re-release.

No special features appear to be included in the release, which is a huge disappointment. Where is the tongue-in-cheek retrospective or the audio commentaries? At least the remastered picture quality is generally very good, and the music is great even if the dialog is sometimes a little hard to make out without the volume being boosted.

Miami Vice - The Complete Collection (1984-1990) is out now on Blu-ray, courtesy of Fabulous Films Limited. The 25-disc set has a running time of 6660 minutes approx, carries an '18' certificate and retails for £174.99, or get it for less from BY CLICKING HERE.

You had an opportunity to win one of two copies of this Miami Vice – The Complete Collection Blu-ray release to put on to your mantelpiece, in our prize competition, courtesy of Fabulous Films / Fremantle Media Enterprises.

All you had to do was tell us the answer to the following question: Who wrote the Miami Vice theme music? The answer was JAN HAMMER and the winners were Antony Smith of Ashington and David Kerr of Sunderland - well done both!


Last modified on Tuesday, 20 December 2016 04:44